The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North

The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North
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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

UNHCR chief arrives in Kathmandu; blast destroys bus in Bhutan

At a time when resettlement of Bhutanese refugees is under debate, the United Nations' High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) António Guterres has said UNHCR is in favour of repatriating the refugees to their homeland in a dignified manner.

Talking to reporters upon his arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport on Tuesday, Guterres hoped the Nepal government would be able to find a permanent solution to the crisis soon. He said his tour would focus on getting detailed information about the Bhutanese refugees.

On the first day of his three-day visit, Guterres will meet Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Foreign Minister Sahana Pradhan to discuss the refugee issue.

Guterres's visit to Nepal comes at a time when the refugee issue has drawn the world's attention.

He will visit Goldhap camp in Jhapa district to assess the situation of the camps and refugees' interest on three options floated by the UNHCR.

Guterres will visit Bhutan after competing his visit to Nepal.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Sahana Pradhan had said western countries have proposed to resettle at least 85,000 of the 107,000 Bhutanese refugees. She said the government would dispatch a delegation to Thimpu soon to hold final round of talks with Druk regime.

Meanwhile, president of Druk National Congress Thinley Penjore compared his country with the cage for human beings. He leads the party in exile.

In another development, the Bhutan government controlled Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) reported that a blast of an improvised device in bordering town Phuntsholing badly destroyed a passenger bus.

Since the bus was parked at a workshop, no human casualty was reported. The police is investigating the incident. ia May 22 07

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